An Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal

Hi Arvind,

Let me first introduce myself. I am not a member of PAC or NE or any other committee. I am much more powerful than that. I am the aam aadmi of Aam Aadmi Party. I am the volunteer who spends countless days spreading our party’s message to the people. I am the donor who gives to the party fund all the money that he can, and then some. I am the ‘facebook warrior’ who fights the propaganda machinery of the powerful. I am an AAPtard, as they call us.

I am doing all this not because I stand to personally gain something out of this. I am doing this because I believe in the idea of alternative politics. I believe in the idea of participative democracy. I believe in the idea of transparent decision making. Since AAP is the only party that supports these ideas, I support AAP. But today, after the rather public ouster of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from PAC, my belief in my ideas is questioning my support to AAP.

There might have been many reasons behind this decision, and some of those might have been correct but the way it was done was plain wrong. Leveling allegations without showing any proof, expelling people by calling a meeting to make it look like a democratic decision, and then issuing gag orders so that no one talks about the meeting is how the supremo of every other party takes care of his critics. What makes us different?

Since I do not see any evidence of their engagement in so called anti-party activities (if anyone in the committee has any such evidence, you should ensure that it becomes public), I can safely assume that the only reason for their removal was that they had views different than yours on some matters and they asked questions. The questions they raised might have made running things difficult for you, but the questions are valid and need addressing. We indeed might have made some choices in the recent past which were more ‘practical’ but no so aligned with our principals. We might have made some ‘only-this-time’ compromises thinking it was necessary for our survival as a party, but we all know that compromises are never only-this-time. One compromise always leads to another, and that to another, and then it’s a steep downhill road from there. Soon we find ourselves fighting the same principals we once stood for, wondering when and how we became like this.

Moreover, what’s at stake here is not just the fate of a political party but much more. It’s the hope of millions of people who trusted that we are different, that we will change things. If this experiment, as Yogendra Yadav calls it, fails, the people of India may not be able to trust anyone for a very long time.

We are fortunate to have people like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan in our party who, rather than going with the flow, can ask questions and show us the mirror. Kabir Das had said “निंदक नियरे राखिए, आँगन कुटी छवाय”. But if having a different viewpoint is penalized like this, have we not already become another Congress, or SP? Today Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan and Mayank Gandhi stand on much higher moral ground than you, and I am forced to ask: Do you want people who are easier to work with, or people who are right? Because if you want a coterie of yes men around you, that’s what you’ll get. Only it may not be the best thing for you, or for the nation.

And since I am the driving force behind this movement and this party, I deserve to know the answers.

Please don’t try to hide behind the ‘I-am-above-such-petty-fights’ and ‘I-was-not-in-the-meeting’ kind of excuses. Your supporters are intelligent enough to see through these. And they are aghast to look at what’s happening. You need to put things in order and make the party united again. If that takes another public apology from you, so be it.

Still yours,
The AAPtard.

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